background preloader

Misc.

Facebook Twitter

How the Satanic Temple forced Phoenix lawmakers to ban public prayer. For weeks now, Phoenix lawmakers have wrestled with the idea of allowing members of a Satanic group to give the invocation before an upcoming city meeting.

How the Satanic Temple forced Phoenix lawmakers to ban public prayer

Phoenix City Council members arrived Wednesday at a controversial solution: Banning prayer altogether. From now on, lawmakers decided in a 5-4 vote, council meetings will no longer begin with a traditional prayer, but instead open with a moment of silence. Although the decision may block the Satanic Temple’s Feb. 17 invocation, it prompted outcries from some Phoenix residents and city officials who believe the prayer ban is a de facto victory for the Satanists. Religious countries are more unhappy. Six days ago, I wrote about some data (presented by the Telegraph and Christian Today) showing the degree of religiosity among various countries in the world—the proportion of inhabitants who agreed that “religion was very important in their lives.”

Religious countries are more unhappy

A subjective look at the rankings suggested that the most religious countries were also the least well off. That impression is statistically supported by Greg Paul’s observation of a negative correlation between religiosity and well being, the latter quantified by using the “Successful Societies Scale.” In short, countries having more successful societies are, on average, also those that are less religious. 'Pastafarian' wins right to wear colander in driving licence photo. How the Bible Condones Terrorism. George Takei on How Kim Davis Violated the First Amendment.

How one enterprising Iranian expat family and its allies successfully pushed for U.S.

George Takei on How Kim Davis Violated the First Amendment

-Iran rapprochement—and now stands to make a fortune from sanctions relief. When the world’s major powers struck a deal over Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna in July, it represented a victory not just for the Islamic Republic, which has now been granted international legitimacy as a nuclear threshold state, but also for a small but increasingly influential lobby in America, one which has long sought rapprochement between Washington and Tehran and now seeks to leverage a successfully concluded nuclear deal as a means to that end. This Iran lobby, publicly represented by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), has become a staunch institutional ally of the White House selling the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is known. Little known to the American press, the Namazis have rarely acted as spokespersons for their own cause.

The 12 worst ideas religion has unleashed on the world. Son of a bigot. Healthy Perspective: The latest health & wellness news with a dose of conversation. Your Friday morning health roundup: The U.S. health care system wastes $750 billion a year, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.By KAREN BLEIER, AFP/Getty ImagesHealth care waste: The U.S. health care system wastes $750 billion a year on unneeded care, useless paperwork, fraud and other failures and could make changes that would both save money and improve health, says a report from the Institute of Medicine.

Healthy Perspective: The latest health & wellness news with a dose of conversation

The bluntly worded report says that if banks ran like the health system, ATM transactions would take days and that if airlines ran like the health system, pilots could design their own pre-flight safety checks or not do them at all. (Associated Press) Red wine surprise: The idea that you can drink your way to heart health takes a hit from a new study -- at least if your idea of drinking involves alcohol. The study found men were more likely to see modest improvements in blood pressure when they drank non-alcoholic red wine than when they drank the harder stuff. All the Single Ladies. How to suck at your religion.

Pope Francis says Big Bang theory does not contradict role of God. Atheist's View On Life Could Make Anyone Cry. 4 Minutes In, The Interviewer Almost Gets Choked Up. Terry Gross: I think having friends who die, getting older, getting closer toward the end of a life tests people's faith, and it also tests people's atheism.

Atheist's View On Life Could Make Anyone Cry. 4 Minutes In, The Interviewer Almost Gets Choked Up.

It sounds like your atheism is staying strong. Maurice Sendak: It's what? Atheists Face Discrimination On A Shocking Level (INFOGRAPHIC) It’s okay to marry a Republican or Democrat, just not an atheist. When you're bringing that special person home to meet the family, remember this: it's God, not politics, that families will judge them on.

It’s okay to marry a Republican or Democrat, just not an atheist

Family political arguments are as American as apple pie, but it turns out that people don't care much about partisanship when it comes to relationships. Heaven is for neuroscience: How the brain creates visions of God. For most of recorded history, human beings situated the mind — and by extension the soul — not within the brain but within the heart.

Heaven is for neuroscience: How the brain creates visions of God

When preparing mummies for the afterlife, for instance, ancient Egyptian priests removed the heart in one piece and preserved it in a ceremonial jar; in contrast, they scraped out the brain through the nostrils with iron hooks, tossed it aside for animals, and filled the empty skull with sawdust or resin. (This wasn’t a snarky commentary on their politicians, either—they considered everyone’s brain useless.) Most Greek thinkers also elevated the heart to the body’s summa. Apollonius of Tyana. The problem I have with religion version 2.0.

Justice

Is The Internet Killing Religion In America? Brain Activity Shows Basis of Near-Death 'Light' There may be a scientific explanation for the vivid near-death experiences, such as seeing a shining light, that some people report after surviving a heart attack, US scientists said Monday.

Brain Activity Shows Basis of Near-Death 'Light'

Apparently, the brain keeps on working for up to 30 seconds after blood flow stops, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Train kills 37 pilgrims in eastern India. Researchers Aggregate 63 Studies and Find ‘Significant Negative Association Between Intelligence and Religiosity’ Pakistan's Malala, shot by Taliban, takes education plea to U.N. Respecting religion.

Religious Differences. Religion. This is a good analogy for religion. U6zu3Xs.jpg (806×704) The Skeptic's Annotated Bible (book) 8202471945_bf8862b0a6.jpg (500×400) It all makes sense now. Usury. Usury (/ˈjuːʒəri/[1][2]) is the practice of making unethical or immoral monetary loans intended to unfairly enrich the lender.

Usury

A loan may be considered usurious because of excessive or abusive interest rates or other factors, but according to some dictionaries, simply charging any interest at all can be considered usury.[3][4][5] Someone who charges usury can be called an usurer, but the more common term in English is loan shark. The term may be used in a moral sense—condemning taking advantage of others' misfortunes—or in a legal sense where interest rates may be regulated by law. 9D47l.jpg (720×453) L5UFn.jpg (720×360) How to suck at your religion. Faith leaders across England in 'HIV healing' claims. 24 September 2012Last updated at 01:14 ET By Andy Dangerfield BBC News, London Synagogue Church Of All Nations website shows videos of people it claims have been "cured" Dangerous cases of faith leaders who tell people with HIV to stop taking their life-saving drugs have been identified by African-led community groups in a number of locations across England.

Faith leaders across England in 'HIV healing' claims

Seven groups said there were instances of people being told by faith leaders they had been "healed" through prayer - and then pressured to stop taking antiretroviral medication, according to the charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN). 959eb.jpg (2560×1600) Boy Scouts of America membership controversies. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the largest private youth organizations in the United States, has policies which prohibit atheists, agnostics and, until January 2014, prohibited all "open or avowed" homosexuals from membership in its Scouting program.

The ban on "open or avowed" homosexual adults from membership remains in effect. BSA has denied or revoked membership status or leadership positions for violation of these foundational principles. The BSA contends that its policies are essential in its mission to instil in young people the values of the Scout Oath and Law.[1][2] These policies have led to various disputes and controversies.

Dude it is a square...I see what you did there! Near Death Experiences. Religion riskier than porn for online viruses: study. Web wanderers are more likely to get a computer virus by visiting a religious website than by peering at porn, according to a study released on Tuesday. When it comes to accepting evolution, gut feelings trump facts. COLUMBUS, Ohio – For students to accept the theory of evolution, an intuitive "gut feeling" may be just as important as understanding the facts, according to a new study.

In an analysis of the beliefs of biology teachers, researchers found that a quick intuitive notion of how right an idea feels was a powerful driver of whether or not students accepted evolution—often trumping factors such as knowledge level or religion. EyJsg.jpg (JPEG Image, 540 × 720 pixels) ‘Personhood’ Agenda is Theocracy. World Publics Welcome Global Trade — But Not Immigration. 47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey. It's only a story.. Senate panel OKs creationism teaching bill. Explaining Radiometric Dating. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: Leave Religion Out Of Michigan's Anti-Bullying Bill. Michigan's recent anti-bullying bill debate has moved one step forward and two steps back for actual protection against bullying in the state's schools.

Carlin on Religion. The Vatican claims Darwin's theory of evolution is compatible with Christianity. Fox and Friends. 559.jpg (JPEG Image, 850x557 pixels) The Scale of the Universe. Praise the lard? Study links church to obesity - Health - Diet and nutrition. It might be the potlucks, it might be those long hours sitting in pews, but whatever the cause, a new study presented this week shows a link between religious activity and weight gain.

The study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern University, found that young adults who frequently attended religious activities were far more likely to become obese than those who didn’t. Fact-Checking The Church Of Scientology: Journalist Lawrence Wright. Was Darwin Wrong? Evolution by natural selection, the central concept of the life's work of Charles Darwin, is a theory. It's a theory about the origin of adaptation, complexity, and diversity among Earth's living creatures.